Apple added nearly two dozen Volkswagen T6 Transporters to its car project; mostly as electric self-driving shuttles for employees. That seems to be a good way to put Apple’s autonomous driving technology to test. How does that compare to Google’s self-driving car efforts?
Google rebranded the project. Now it’s called Waymo. It’s a dumb-assed name but so was Lotus 1-2-3 as a spreadsheet. Google’s been working on autonomous driving technology since 2009 and has logged over 5-million miles in self-driving vehicles.
Apple’s efforts to gather data seem anemic by Google standards, the standard bearer for data collection.
While our favorite Cupertino, CA technology company has dozens of cars licensed to run in California, and has something of a deal going with Volkswagen, Google’s Waymo plans to team up with Jaguar and launch a fleet of 20,000 self driving cars.
If more is better, Google is ahead.
Here’s the problem. The major car manufacturers are not sitting on their thumbs and all have what Apple and Google do not. Their own electric and autonomous car projects– AND– manufacturing capability. They know how to do what even Tesla does not. Build cars in volume.
The race toward self driving cars will not end soon. For most of us, our cars sit 90-percent of the time. Autonomous vehicles could be economically feasible for city dwellers who need quick and convenient transportation and that’s where on-demand vehicles can be valuable. Think of Uber or Lyft but without a driver to tip.
Google and Apple get plenty of press for their efforts toward the autonomous vehicle trend, but they don’t build cars– that means partnering with car manufacturers.
What’s the problem there?
Most of those manufacturers are going it alone. They already know how to build and distribute vehicles. What they don’t know– yet– is how to make them drive by themselves, and that’s the race Google’s Waymo, Apple, Tesla, and others are running.
That gap between the technology and manufacturing ability is why I don’t think we’ll ever see an Apple Car.